Hi there! We're Luke and Cat, and we're so happy you're here. We hope you'll stay a while! We’re a husband and wife wedding photographer team based in Houston, Texas. Ranchers-turned-photographers, our world looks like this: a Craftsman-style farmhouse; our newborn, Knox, in our arms; coffee in the kitchen; Edison lights on the back porch; and a pair of English bulldogs at the foot of our bed. Read more...

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The Luxury Bride

Dec 2, 2015 / Business

First, there was Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.  Then, there was Four Weddings and a Funeral.  Luke and Cat now proudly present:  Three Brides and a Photographer.  In this email series, we will be looking at three different brides through the lens of running a successful photography business.  Our first post introduced The Mythical Bride.  Now, please welcome our second vision in white as she walks down the aisle.  She’s: The Luxury Bride.

Back in 2013, we got to capture Ashlena and Weston’s destination wedding at the Hard Rock Punta Cana resort in the Dominican Republic. The locale was perfectly suited to the couple, who are beautiful inside and out.  But, when we arrived, there was a hitch we hadn’t counted on. They say that everything’s bigger in Texas, but this resort was massive! There were miles between the beach where the ceremony would take place and the hotel where everyone was staying—a distance that was extra daunting when we considered all the equipment we’d need to haul around on their big day.

It came down to this: we could either rent a golf cart at cost of $450 for the weekend (an expense that would come out of our own pockets) or we could save that money and hoof it with our heavy camera equipment. 

Now, in a case like this, renting a golf cart could be seen by some as a luxury. We happen to think that luxury isn’t always about money—it’s about priorities.  Why not lace up our walking shoes, skip that cost and work off a few of those Sprinkles cupcakes? Because that weekend, we had different priorities.  We whipped out our credit card and paid for that golf cart.  You see, for us, renting that golf cart wasn’t a luxury; it was an investment

We saved time and energy by being able to zip around with all our gear. And, we got better shots in more locations because we didn’t have to ‘waste’ time walking the resort.  As a bonus, instead of being a pain in the neck because of its size, the huge resort turned into our own super-fun racetrack. (The guards at the gate weren’t thrilled, but what else are you supposed to do when you’ve got a knack for stunt golf-cart driving?)

Best of all, we created extra value in terms of “The Luke & Cat Experience” by chauffeuring the happy couple.  In fact, we captured some of our favorite shots of the bride while she was riding to and from the wedding.

What may have seemed like a decision on a luxury splurge—to rent or not to rent?—ended up being the thing that tipped the whole weekend in our favor and allowed us to produce the kind of quality photographs that represent what we’re all about.

We’re sure a lot of folks would have opted out of the golf cart rental fee, despite that old piece of wisdom about spending a little to save a lot.  And that’s why it’s important to start looking at luxury differently—not as a frivolous, expensive, or unattainable indulgence, but rather an opportunity to enjoy something you value.  Luxury is a matter of priorities, which means every “average” bride is The Luxury Bride.  

We’ve seen brides spend $4K on their wedding dress and serve a $10 per plate buffet because that’s where their priorities were.  Likewise, we’ve seen a bride wear a family heirloom gown (free), choose inexpensive wildflowers for her bouquet ($100), and go all out on a great live band ($5k) because music and dancing were the couple’s passion. We serve The Luxury Bride who values heirloom photography.  She’s willing to invest a large percentage of her budget on this expense because it’s worth so much to her.  One of the couples we just met said: “Even if we have to get married in a pole barn and serve peanut butter & jelly sandwiches to our guests, we’re booking you as our wedding photographers!” 

To put it simply, one person’s luxury is another person’s necessity and vice versa.  If your clients can afford to have an “average” wedding by American standards, your clients can afford your pricing.  The question is:  What matters most to them?  Do they value what you offer?  Do they see its worth?  It’s your job to communicate why your service or product is worth the investment.


The Take Aways

  • LUXURY IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER: It’s about time to reinvent your definition of luxury. Despite what you know about price tags, the truth is that people put value on things based on their priorities. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that what you do is frivolous. 

  • YOU’RE NOT SELLING PHOTOGRAPHS: Do you recognize the value of what you provide? You’re selling their story, you’re making their memories, you're capturing their emotions and love in a beautiful and thoughtful way. People will pay for a luxury if it’s worthy of their time and money—it’s up to you to prove it.

  • CAN YOU PICTURE THIS?: The question isn’t how much your work costs, but how much it’s worth—and worth is about more than dollar value. You can do a lot to connect with the personalities, emotions, and personal priorities of potential clients. Your business strategy should include helping them envision how they’ll benefit from working with you. Can they see just how you’ll immortalize the important moments in their life? Can they picture how their dream celebration will be that much more extraordinary with your help?

  • LITTLE DETAILS CREATE COMPLETE EXPERIENCES: What do a golf cart-turned-wedding chariot and that iconic blue Tiffany & Co. box have in common? They’re both part of an overall experience. Make sure your entire experience reflects the quality of your work, your commitment to customer service, and your own priorities as a businessperson and an artist.  Sometimes the little blue box matters more than what is in it.  Our clients book us for more than great photos; they also buy into the way we package and deliver the experience of making them.

  • TAKE STOCK OF YOUR OWN LUXURIES: What’s essential to one person (first class airfare, room service, valet parking, or golf cart transportation at a big venue) won’t necessarily be true for another. Take time to consider your priorities and recognize that if something is important to you, then it’s worth the investment.   Do the same with your clients.

Little Luxuries & Complete Experiences (They Go Together!),

Luke & Cat

P.S. If you liked The Mythical Bride and The Luxury Bride, be sure to sign up for our newsletter. Part 3 (the grand finale!) will be emailed exclusively to our subscribers

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